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03-07-2012, 10:22 PM   #1
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Best budget medium telephoto zoom

I'm mostly a prime shooter so not well versed in K mount zoom lens options. I currently have DA 15, FA 43, and FA 77 and am looking to expand the range of my kit on the telephoto end. While I would eventually like to have a prime or two to make that happen, I figure I'll start with an inexpensive medium telephoto zoom to figure out which focal lengths I like best. I'd like to find something that meets the following criteria:

- At least 200 mm on the long end
- Costs < $200 used; not impossible to find
- Best sharpness, color, contrast and realistic detail rendering that I can get for that price.

After a quick look through lens reviews a few possibilities that jumped out were F 70-210, FA 100-300 (f4.7-5.8 version), M 80-200, several 3rd party 70-210's (Viv Ser 1, Ricoh, etc).

Does anyone have any experience with any of these lenses, or can help guide me to other options that meet my criteria that I may have overlooked? MF vs. AF isn't a huge deal, and I'm not hung up on build quality. More concerned about getting the best optical quality I can.

Thanks in advance!

-Brandon

03-07-2012, 10:24 PM   #2
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Da l 55-300
03-07-2012, 10:54 PM   #3
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I think i would grab a DA55-300 if it was under $200, if not the F70-210 smc is a good sharp lens, f4.0 up to 110mm, f4.5 to 170mm and then f5.6. Nice bokeh and fast AF. The A70-210 f4 is also a nice lens optically. The only problem with manual focus zoom lenses is the SR input for each focal length or a compromise setting.
03-07-2012, 11:06 PM   #4
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DA L 55-300 should be close to $200 if you are careful
F 70-210 is quite common on ebay. There are two there now for less than $100. It is a good sharp lens, but much heavier than modern zooms. Note there is also a Takumar F 70-210 which is similar but supposedly has poorer coatings. You want the Pentax F 70-210.

03-08-2012, 04:58 AM   #5
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If you want to try a third party lens, I can recommend Sigma 70-300 APO Macro (or APO Macro Super) f4-5.6

It is a nice rather sharp lens, and you should be able to find it rather cheap.
03-08-2012, 09:30 AM   #6
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I will recommend the FA100-300/4.7-5.8 (silver) that you mentioned. Lightweight, fast-AF (if not exactly quiet), great optics and rendering, and cheap at about US$100. I'm no birder but I've got my best bird shots with this one. I also have the huge Lil'Bigma 170-500 but I'm *much* more likely to carry and use the FA100-300.

I'll also recommend the Vivitar Series 1 70-210 -- mine is Version 1, Kiron-made, f/3.5, big and brilliantly sharp. BUT it's heavy and doesn't come in PKA-mount (Version 3 does however) and is MF so using SR is a bit picky. If you want sharpest optics and are in no hurry, this is a real bargain.

If budget is REAL tight, consider something like a manual-focus Promaster-Tamron 60-300/4-5.6. Mine is in PKA-mount and cost all of US$13 shipped. Not great at 300mm, pretty good at 100-250mm, lightweight, and if nothing to cry over if it gets damaged.
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